Local News

Transplant Patient Marvels At Being 'Reborn'

Posted August 1, 2003

— Rodney Stockard was in a Chapel Hill hospital room Friday -- and could not have been happier.

WRAL first aired Stockard's story two months ago. For more than a year, he had been waiting for a double-lung transplant.

Last week, the transplant finally came through.

"Life is wonderful," Stockard said from his hospital room Friday.

Stockard has two new lungs and a second chance.

"You know, it's like having a baby," he said. "I've been given a new life, to be able to take care of my babies, my daughters."

It has been one week since the surgery -- seven days in a hospital room after 13 months in a Durham hotel room.

He spent those 13 months waiting for a phone call.

"We live for today and plan for tomorrow," he said during that time.

Stockard is from Kansas. He had Cystic Fibrosis and desperately needed a double-lung transplant. The call came just in time.

"I was really sick," he said. "Unbelievable."

Stockard remembers waking up from surgery.

"I opened my eyes, and right there, I saw the star of Bethlehem shining down on me," he said. "And I knew at that time that it was right, that I had been reborn."

Stockard's recovery has been almost miraculous in itself. Now he waits to go home.

"It is like having a whole new life all over again," he said.

Stockard doesn't know who the organ donor was or the circumstances involved. But he is extremely grateful. He should be out of the hospital in a week and back home in Kansas in about three months.


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